Step 2: Build the Legs

The legs are built in a unique way.  To ensure that there is attractive grain displayed on all sides, the legs are constructed by mitering boards along their length and gluing them up around a square core.  I found that gluing them up around the core was more trouble than it was worth, so, I glued the boards up, then glued the core in place.  This allowed me to pull the mitered edges together more tightly.  I used packing tape to hold the boards together while the glue set up, and set the legs vertically to keep the squeeze-out from running down the faces of the boards. 

Once the cores were glued in, I planed the legs to final thickness.  Be careful how you sneak up on the final dimension as you need to take the same amount off of each side of the leg to keep the corner joints centered.  Once at the final thickness, I beveled the edges and then trimmed the legs to final length.

To cut the mortises, I built a custom sled for my plunge router.  It's a simple design - just a lexan sheet with adjustable hardwood cleats.  The cleats can be adjusted in or out to allow the router to follow the workpiece - you can even cut off-center slots if required.  A good tip for making sure your bit is centered, is to take a scrap that is the same width as your workpiece, center the bit as best you can, make a shallow cut, then rotate the sled around 180 degrees on the piece and see if your bit is still centered in the slot.

I had something like 54 mortises to cut, so I came up with a very simple "jig" that consisted of a few blocks of wood screwed to my work bench (see images).  Two blocks located the leg position, and then two stop-blocks were clamped in place to control the length of the cut.  Working this way, it didn't take much time to precisely cut all 54 mortises.
<p>I was looking to build a couch for my office and came upon your plans. The furniture is quite beautiful and you've done a masterful job. This was the first time that I've attempted a wood project with this many different components and techniques necessary, but the final product was well worth it. Thanks for all of your pictures and steps that helped me through the project.</p>
<p>Thanks - I'm glad you liked it :)</p><p>As far as using slats instead of elastic, that would be possible, but I would caution you against committing to that idea without testing it. Surprisingly enough, the spring/elastic base has a <em>lot</em> to do with how comfortable a couch is (otherwise, most couches would be built like benches with a pad, right?). I don't know the exact science behind it, but I'm sure it has something to do with the elastic allowing the foam to conform to your body and thus distributing the weight and pressure across a wider area. However, this might not be that important to you - i.e. you might not notice a difference. I would think that you could test it by building your frame, placing some slats or a piece of plywood into it, top it with your cushion foam, and sit on it and see how it feels after 10 or 15 minutes. I do know a guy who build a settle and used a plywood base under his cushions - and he regretted it because the settle is not comfortable for very long. </p><p>Another possibility would be to use the zig-zag springs that are used in a lot of furniture these days. The downside is that those springs can be a challenge to work with - every bit as much as elastic, if not more.</p><p>Good luck! Post pics if you get the chance :)</p>
<p>This project is on my &quot;to do&quot; list. You have done a fantastic job! The one thing that has been throwing me in the planning is the webbing for the seat frame. I built Woodplans MD00093 Morris Chair and it uses 3/8 by 13/4 oak slats. Why wouldn't that work just as well with less expense and labor? Building a beefier frame as you had to do should make that work. The seat frame on the couch appears to be only 2 5/8 deeper that the above mentioned chair. Thanks again for the great pics and description.</p>
<p>What a stunning item of furniture! It is beautiful and thank you for showing us how you built it. I envy your workshop and all the tools you have available. Please show more of what you do.</p>
Fabulous work and great instructable. Thank you for sharing
This is super interesting! Can you tell me where to find more information like this? I have really been looking into <a href="http://www.friedarossdrapes.com" rel="nofollow">upholstery in Phoenix AZ</a>. I had no clue there were so many options. Thanks again for sharing!
Thanks for these instructions. My wife tried installing some <a href="http://www.allcabinetparts.com/wrought_iron.html" rel="nofollow">iron corbels</a> the other day but it didn't work out. Now she and I are gonna rock it together.
This is amazing! Nice instructable overall!
Thanks for the great step by step on <a href="http://www.suburbantrim.com/services.html" rel="nofollow">upholstery repair</a>! I can't wait to get to work on this chair I recently purchased at this vintage store in Arlington Heights, IL
Thanks for sharing. I'd love to learn more about <a href="http://www.allcabinetparts.com/wrought_iron.html" rel="nofollow">iron corbels</a>. I think wooden ones are beautiful as well. Great build.
Thanks :) <br> <br>If memory serves, I cut the cheeks on the long pieces by hand with a dozuki saw, and on the shorter pieces I used a stacked dado set on the table saw. Once they were roughed out, I used a rasp to fit them more precisely.
I like your router method for cuttung the tenon cheeks. <br>How did you cut the shoulders? Ie. The width part of the tenon. <br>Did you turn the boards on edge or what. <br>I have my lumber and plans and am just getting started and your article is perfect for me. Very, very nice work!
This is perhaps the best posting I have seen on Instructables. It provides a wealth of information and woodworking tips (I'll be downloading it). Great woodworking takes dedication, patience and TIME, which are all very evident in this project. Your level of skill and workmanship is applauded. Fantastic effort! <br> <br>(What is your background and how long have you been woodworking?) <br>
Thank you for the kind words :) I don't consider myself a master woodworker by any stretch of the imagination - I'm always looking to learn more. I don't have any formal woodworking training - most of what I know has come from reading, experimenting, and making my share of mistakes - which often end up being the best teachers. I've been woodworking since the late 80's - starting with building furniture in the livingroom of my apartment using mostly construction scraps, hand tools, and an old circular saw (I was too poor to buy furniture ;).<br> <br> My background is pretty eclectic: Degrees in Biology and Chemistry, Emergency Medical Technician, Technical Illustrator and Mechanical Designer, Air Force Officer, Producer/Director, Corporate I.T. Director, Disney Artist,&nbsp; and currently working as a &quot;Freelance Artisan&quot; in a variety of disciplines (computers to gunsmithing).... Like I said - eclectic ;)
This piece is absolutely gorgeous. I'd love to have one in my apartment! (Can I commission a piece? :)
Thank You - I can't take all the credit though - Gustav Stickley designed the original ;) <br> <br>I don't think you want me to build one for you - lol - it'd be pretty expensive. There are a number of shops out there that are set up to build and ship these, though - you might want to look into them.
Too beautiful to push against the wall. After all that meticulous work, I'd place them right in the center of the room.
Outstanding work!
That is an intense and beautiful piece of furniture! And, I have to say, beautifully constructed legs on that thing!
Hmmm - I guess it *is* kind of intense - lol. I'm told that *I'm* intense, so I guess it just reflects my personality :) (although I've never really known what that means, exactly) ;)
Just beautiful, great instructable too. Thank you
Thank you for commenting :)
Absolutely beautiful! Excellent 'ible, well documented. It is difficult to find a design more pleasing than Mission. Your execution is exceptional.
Thank you! I couldn't agree more with your comment on Mission-style - although I still can't help tweaking it a *little*. I've never been one for ornamentation - but subtle elegance will get me every time ;)
great work!! <br> <br>Suggestion: <br>for the legs I think it would have helped to use a 45&Acirc;&deg; mitre lock router bit: <br>http://stusshed.com/2008/09/06/carb-i-tool-mitre-lock-bit/ <br> <br>
Thank you, and Thanks for the suggestion. I actually have one of the lock-miter bits - but chose not to use it for a couple of reasons - the first being the added complexity and the second being an insignificant increase in the amount of joint strength it would provide in this case. <br> <br>In this design, the joint is a full-length face-grain to face-grain bond, and given that modern glue joints are often far stronger than the surrounding wood, adding surface area to that joint would be unnecessary (and complex) - especially given the ratio of glue-joint surface area to outer face area (there's actually more glue joint area here than exposed face area). <br> <br>As you probably know, the lock-miter bit is useful when joining end-grain to end-grain (like one might encounter in drawer sides or case construction) because end-grain to end-grain bonds are inherently weak and can benefit from the added mechanical &quot;lock&quot; as well as the small amount of face-grain to face-grain bond provided by the cut of the lock-miter bit. Face-grain to face-grain bonds rarely need any reinforcement unless you are dealing with particularly oily woods or woods of differing species (&quot;iffy&quot; glue bonding and different expansion characteristics). However, if I was assembling a larger box structure or panel - even with a face-grain to face-grain orientation along the joint - the lock miter would be extremely useful for keeping the joints aligned during glue-up :)

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